Thursday, November 30, 2023

The Threefold Coming of the Lord this Advent

“We know that the coming of the Lord is threefold… The first coming was in flesh and weakness, the middle coming is in spirit and power, and the final coming will be in glory and majesty.” ~St. Bernard of Clairvaux on the Season of Advent

The word Advent comes from Latin and means “to come.” After many long years of waiting for the Messiah, Jesus came at a specific time and place. We celebrate the Incarnation and remember His birth each year at Christmas. We know that during Advent we look forward with hope to when Jesus will come again at the end of time to create a new heaven and a new earth. But we also see that Jesus comes to us right now in the present moment. He is near to us in prayer, in the people around us, in the world He created, and especially in the Holy Eucharist. Read more in my full article for the Eucharistic Revival blog here.

Help your kids learn more about the threefold coming of Jesus this Advent with the resources below. These were made in cooperation with Shari Van Vranken of Catholic Paper Goods using artwork from our new book!
  • With older kids, read and talk about this St. Bernard of Clairvaux quote using the coloring page. Ask them how they understand Jesus coming in the past, present, and future. Discuss ways to look for Jesus each day and welcome Him as He comes to us in prayer, through the people around us, and especially in the Eucharist at Mass.
  • With younger kids, create this Advent accordion storybook. Read it together with them, talking about the meaning of the Season of Advent. Show them that Jesus came at the first Christmas, comes to us each day, and will come again at the end of time.

Click here for the accordion book for younger kids:
(and the matching printable is in Spanish here)

Click here for the coloring page for older kids:
(and the matching printable is in Spanish here)

Read more about the coming of the Lord in All about Advent & Christmas: Sharing the Seasons of Hope & Wonder with Children soon so that you are ready for Advent!

You can find it at The St. Paul Center here or on Amazon here. It's also available as an ebook in both places if that's more your style!

O Come, O Come Emmanuel!

And you can find all of the free resources linked in this post:

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Waiting for Jesus Advent Bulletin Board

It's almost Advent! How about an easy bulletin board to help set the tone for the season? I wanted to hang something in my classroom that gave a visual reminder of our waiting for the Lord to come...but was looking for something that wasn't necessarily purple and pink ;).

This bulletin board reminds us of the night sky and the transition from darkness to light we celebrate during Advent. The empty manger represents our waiting and preparation for Jesus to come. I stapled on the "hay" using brown crinkle cut paper, but you could totally make this an interactive bulletin board by providing small strips of paper for your students. On the paper, they could write how they are preparing their hearts during Advent and could list prayers, acts of service, good deeds, etc. Then those strips of paper could be added to the manger to make it a welcoming place for Baby Jesus!

The printables for this bulletin board were made in cooperation with Shari Van Vranken of Catholic Paper Goods using artwork from our new book!

It was particularly inspired by these two pages, one with the empty manger and another explaining the custom of lining a manger with straw for Baby Jesus representing our good deeds, prayers, and sacrifices.

I created several sets of letters (using a font Shari designed for the book!) in several different colors (purple, navy, gold, and black) and two different sizes. To simplify sharing them with you, they are all available in this folder:

FYI, I cut all of the letters out for my bulletin board, but you could definitely save time by just cutting a rectangle around each word. You'll have to trim and tape together "heart" but that modification would really speed up putting this bulletin board together!

And to print the manger click here. It it ready to print on two 11x17" pages, then trim and tape to make it around 20x16." I sent it to be printed at my local office store (cost $1) or you can print it on multiple 8.5x11" sheets at home using the "poster" feature in your pdf print settings. The image is black and white line art to save you ink, so you or a kiddo or two can add some color with crayons, colored pencils, or markers!

Read more about the coming of the Lord in All about Advent & Christmas: Sharing the Seasons of Hope & Wonder with Children soon so that you are ready for Advent.

You can find it at The St. Paul Center here or on Amazon here. It's also available as an ebook in both places if that's more your style!

O Come, O Come Emmanuel!

Sunday, November 26, 2023

December Radiant Roundup: Resources for Advent, Christmas, and December Saints!


Welcome to December! Amidst the decorating and shopping and baking, here are some resources to help you and your kids keep your hearts focused on the reason for the Season. As I pulled posts from the archives and created a few new things for this year, this round up grew larger and larger- but don't let that overwhelm you. Choose 2 or 3 things that suit your home of classroom and will help you pray as we look forward to the celebration of the birth of Christ. From books to crafts to meals to Saints and more, there are plenty of tools gathered here to pick from!

Books for Catholic Kids- Advent, Christmas, & Feast Days for December
Check out this list for a huge list of books great for Advent & Christmas, as well as St. Francis Xavier, St. Nicholas, the Immaculate Conception, St. Juan Diego & Our Lady of Guadalupe, Fulton Sheen, St. Lucy, and the Holy Family.

The Advent Wreath:

Printable Advent Activities:
What Advent Looks Like* Coloring Page
Advent Family Traditions* (printable booklets about the Liturgical Year and December Feast Days)
Advent Traditions for Anyone and Everyone* (Info cards that are easy to display and share- one for the Advent Wreath, Jesse Tree, O Antiphons, Christmas Tree, Nativity Scene, St. Andrew, The Immaculate Conception, St. Lucy, St. Nicholas, Ven. Fulton Sheen, St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe)
Advent Prayer Ring* (printable Bible verses for each day of the Season)
Advent Prayer Cards for Each Sunday (Year C)*


Decorating for Advent (simple ideas for decorating your home for the Season)
Advent Today (Youth Group Activity)

St. Nicholas' Many Gifts Bingo Game-Here's a fresh update of an old post! This game is set up so that each child makes their own bingo board. Blank boards and a list of words related to the life of St. Nicholas are provided, making this game perfect to play either after reading a story of St. Nicholas' life or to tell a fact about him as each word is called. Use gold chocolate coins or punch out yellow circles as Bingo markers.
St. Ambrose: December 7th
St. Ambrose coloring pages* (all ages)
Sweeter than Honey Psalm coloring pages* (all ages)
Included in the Advent Feast Days Booklet*

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen: December 9th
Ven. Fulton Sheen Activities* (all ages)
So, SO many activities under that tab!

Our Lady of Loreto: December 10th
Our Lady of Loreto Digital Scavenger Hunt (6th & up)

Juan Diego: December 9th
Our Lady of Guadalupe: December 12th
Our Lady of Guadalupe Block Print* 

St. John of the Cross: December 14th

Gaudete Sunday: December 17th

Christmas Activities:

St. John: December 27th 

The Holy Family: December 31st
Holy Family Block Print-Joseph, Terror of Demons* (Scroll to the bottom)

And just in case you are working ahead, here are a few resources for Epiphany & The Presentation!
Epiphany: January 6th (observed Sunday, January 7, 2024)
Epiphany Home Blessing Kit* (updated through 2026)
My Gift: An Epiphany Readers' Theater*
Gifts of the Magi Google Classroom Assignment

The Presentation: February 2nd
Joseph, Lover of Poverty Print (Two Turtledoves)* (Scroll to the bottom)

“For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." ~Matthew 1:18-24

December Books for Catholic Kids

December Catholic Kids Book List
Below are a few favorite titles that fit well with devotions and feast days this month! This list contains Amazon Affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no cost to you. I'd also love to encourage you to shop directly with the publisher or with your local bookshop, or try to request these at your local library! I'm sure I've missed some books that would be great for this month, so feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments! You can find my giant list of Catholic Kid Books by topic here.

All Month- The Season of Advent
The Jesse Tree
Advent Devotionals

New Liturgical Year

December Saints & Feast Days
12/1- St. Edmund Campion
12/3- St. Francis Xavier
12/6- St. Nicholas
12/8- The Immaculate Conception
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Tomie de Paola
12/9- Anniversary of the death of Ven. Fulton J. Sheen
12/12- Our Lady of Guadalupe
12/13- St. Lucy

O Antiphons: December 17th-24th

The Christmas Season 
The First Christmas

Christmas Fiction

The Holy Family: December 31st

Book Lists By Month:
Click on the images below for book lists organized by feast days and devotions for each month:

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Eucharistic Witnesses: Servant of God Dorothy Day

I'm honored to be contributing to the Heart of the Revival, the newsletter and blog for the National Eucharistic Revival. I've written several articles and created activities for kids (like this Eucharistic ProcessionMass Offering CardsPilgrimage PassportPope Benedict XVI quotesArt for Holy Week, and Bl. Carlo Acutis Activities). 

I've also been helping with a monthly series called American Eucharistic Witnesses. This collection highlights Americans whose lives have been changed by the gift of the Eucharistic. With a different expert author each month and an original woodcut print by the talented Connor Miller, I've been tasked with creating a version of this series for children. Each booklet contains a shorter bio and the art print on the front and back, and inside has some activities like a quote to color, a timeline to put in order, reflection questions, and short comprehension questions to answer. One booklet is for older children (I'd recommend 5th-8th grade) and another for younger children (I'd recommend 2nd-4th grade). The collection matches in structure and we'll finish the series with a final project to pull all the booklets together. 

Read the original article about Servant of God Dorothy Day here, and find the kids' activities below. (including in Spanish!)

Servant of God Dorothy Day Biography Activity for Older Kids in English

Servant of God Dorothy Day Biography Activity for Younger Kids in English